Great storytelling braided with lively color and a culturally affirming accent makes this book a real standout.

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LITTLE RED AND THE VERY HUNGRY LION

In this modern reweaving of “Little Red Riding Hood” set on a modern, fanciful African savanna, readers meet a young, black Little Red who gracefully outwits the more-hungry-than-horrifying Lion.

The Lion imagines his “very-clever-plan” to sneak off to a spots-afflicted Auntie Rosie’s house to solve his grumbling tummy, just in time for Little Red to arrive. But of course, the perceptive Little Red instantly notices that the muumuu-clad Lion is not her Auntie Rosie. She forms her own plan to teach the naughty Lion a lesson. She heads first for the Lion’s unkempt mane with brush and comb, magically transforming it into a “lovely new look,” complete with pink bow-tie barrettes. Those pink bow ties inspire Little Red to find a much prettier dress for him to wear than the muumuu. The annoyed, fed-up Lion bellows his hunger only to be confronted with Little Red’s wagging finger as she explains in quick, calming, decisive fashion, “Well, trying to eat children and aunties is VERY naughty. If you were hungry, all you had to do was ask for some food.” They reconcile their relationship swiftly with a box of doughnuts as the tale comes to a close. Wonderful, jazzy illustrations feature brilliant oranges, yellows, and pinks underscored by vivid, playful language to add to the intrigue. Little Red is a mite with a red dress and two spectacular pigtails.

Great storytelling braided with lively color and a culturally affirming accent makes this book a real standout. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-91438-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.

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AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN)

Humpty Dumpty, classically portrayed as an egg, recounts what happened after he fell off the wall in Santat’s latest.

An avid ornithophile, Humpty had loved being atop a high wall to be close to the birds, but after his fall and reassembly by the king’s men, high places—even his lofted bed—become intolerable. As he puts it, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Although fear bars Humpty from many of his passions, it is the birds he misses the most, and he painstakingly builds (after several papercut-punctuated attempts) a beautiful paper plane to fly among them. But when the plane lands on the very wall Humpty has so doggedly been avoiding, he faces the choice of continuing to follow his fear or to break free of it, which he does, going from cracked egg to powerful flight in a sequence of stunning spreads. Santat applies his considerable talent for intertwining visual and textual, whimsy and gravity to his consideration of trauma and the oft-overlooked importance of self-determined recovery. While this newest addition to Santat’s successes will inevitably (and deservedly) be lauded, younger readers may not notice the de-emphasis of an equally important part of recovery: that it is not compulsory—it is OK not to be OK.

A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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